Changing the clocks, perhaps a change of fortune?

The clocks going back in Autumn always makes me feel more insular and have a desire to curl up on the sofa at home staying warm and watching DVD’s and TV. It’s hard to motivate myself to get out and feel alive, with dating taking a back seat.

A good friend gave me some advice that at this time of year you should, if anything, go out more to ensure the season is one long drag. She said that I needed to try and get out at least once, preferably twice or more every week to keep the enthusiasm going and to not become a recluse during the colder months.

It’s sage advice when you think about it, as it’s all too easy to fall into a routine which sees us get home, make some dinner and then vegetate in front of the television. Comforting it may be. but it’s not going to help find your prince charming or beautiful princess.

So I am not going to wait until the new year to make a resolution – I’m going to give myself a new-season resolution. I resolve to ensure I go out at least once a week, twice most weeks, with either friends or on dates until I find my soul mate. Only then can I vegetate on the sofa with them watching DVD’s and drinking warm cocoa!

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A change of season, a change of style

With the season changing from Summer to Autumn it brings a few subtle changes to dating for single mums and dads. The potential for inclement weather means that alternative locations for dates need to be found, plus clothing considerations have to be taken into account.

You need to consider a different approach to the clothes you will wear to look your most appealing whilst not wanting to catch a cold out in the fresh air! It is true what they say that the unknown retains an enchanting mystery, so to be covered with a jumper and coat isn’t a problem, so long as they convey your sense of style and personality to your date. So please don’t fret about not showing off your fine physique, there’s a time and a place for that mystery to be revealed.

Sometimes less is more, so don’t feel the need to over-accessorise, although for women it may pay you to visit a favourite store of mine, and invest in their highly affordable autumnal bangles to give your outfit an edge. Plain tops rather than crazy patterns help calm the nerves of a prospective date, so try not to reveal too much of your inner-Picasso too soon into your dating journey!

The changing weather means that there are restrictions on some of the locations you may have wanted to visit for a date. The seaside is less appealing, although if you are a walking type there can be many stunning walks around the countryside that look even better with an autumn outlook on them. Please bear in mind the need to take early dates in a location that’s not secluded and where there will be others around for your peace of mind and security.

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Choosing the right photo for your dating profile

With the increased availability of excellent quality cameras included within mobile phones it is easier and easier to have access to photos you can use on your SingleParentDatingUK profile. You do, however, need to make sure that the photos you upload reflect you in a good light and give the impression you wish to convey to prospective dates.

Smiling is a must, a face with a smile is so much more inviting than a frowning one! Make sure that the main photo you use for your profile is as uncluttered as possible, not a group shot but one of you on your own and preferably a close-up of your smiling face. The thing to bear in mind is that people will be going through the same process you do when looking at other peoples profiles. A clear photo of a person looking happy is always likely to attract the attention and encourage you to look further into someone’s profile.

When it comes to loading up additional photos, I’d suggest that you have a nice selection of a range of events and occasions all showing the aspects of your life you’d like to appeal to someone else. Nights out, family days, at home, all have merit to being included but make sure they all reflect you and your personality well and that they won’t put a prospective date off.

Photo’s with ex’s are generally a no-no, regardless of whether it’s a nice photo of you, and as a general rule I’d suggest not having photos of your children at this stage. People are searching for you and if things develop well then they can be introduced to your children, but at this stage I personally wouldn’t consider it essential that dates get to see your child’s photos in advance. Of course there are arguments supporting a photo or two of you with your children as it gives an indication of the age of your offspring, something that may be relevant to potential dates as they can find someone with children of a similar age to themselves. You will have to decide whether that’s an important issue for you, but in my experience it doesn’t put anyone off from making contact just because you don’t have a photo of your children.

There are, of course, other means of getting photos to use such as a regular 35mm camera with film. When taking the film to be processed many photography shops will offer the transfer of these to CD so that you can access them via your computer and upload them to the website.

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What to tell your children when you start dating

Honesty is the best policy, they say, but should you protect your children by not disclosing what you’re doing when you start dating. As you well know, children can be the smartest of detectives when they want to be, so it may not be possible to retain the secret for long anyway. Still, you will probably not find “the one” with the very first person you go on a date with, so the chances are that you will be seeing a few people before finding someone you want to consider a partner.

With this in mind do you really want your children wondering who all these people are that you are seeing? It would perhaps be a wise move to ensure all of your dates are in a public place (for safety) and meeting away from your home. That way your date will not know your address (again for safety) and you will not be exposing your children to a number of callers at your house asking for mummy or daddy.

It is a sensible move to ensure you meet on familiar ground, local restaurants, bars, parks etc, somewhere where others are around and you are comfortable with the surroundings. If you choose to have a second, third date etc with someone then you should still keep to this pattern, building up to the time that you would consider letting your children know about your new friend.

How many dates you have with someone before they meet your children is one that is open for debate. You need to feel comfortable with your date enough to know that there will be some longevity to the relationship and that introducing them to your children will not harm your children’s state of mind. For example, you don’t truly know someone well enough after two or three dates to know if they will be a long term partner choice for you. Allowing them to meet your children would be unfair on your children as they would experience all the uncertainty of someone new coming into their mummy or daddy’s life, they would take time to settle with this new face around and then the chances are the relationship would end and your child would be exposed to someone else leaving their life.

Personally, I wouldn’t expose my children to meeting a new potential partner until I had five or six dates under my belt and had a chance to assess their long term prospects as a new member of our household. My children are the most important thing in the world to me, so they must come first. However, I am allowed a love life in the future, so it’s a balancing act between my happiness and exposure of my children to unnecessary risk or emotional trauma.

I’d welcome your thoughts from your experiences…

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Somebody who shares your experiences

Dating for the first time as a single parent does have the potential to be an extremely scary and unsettling time. But it needn’t be if you give some thought beforehand to limit your exposure to unwanted situations and experiences.

There are good arguments both for and against looking to date another single parent rather than someone who doesn’t have a child to consider. Personally I think that anybody who shares experiences that you do will be more considerate and understanding towards that issue, so it stands to reason that another single mum or dad will be able to appreciate your situation more.

Of course, that isn’t a hard and fast rule as there are many considerate people out there that aren’t parents, but the odds are stacked more in the favour of a person who can relate to you and your life experience.

Take for example, the need to cancel a date at the last minute because your child appears to be running a temperature. Any parent would want to look after their child in times of need and so you’re bound to want to cancel your arranged date. Another single dad or mum would almost certainly be compassionate towards the need to care for your child, but would a non-parent have the same outlook?

Sure there are bound to be lots of singles out there that would be absolutely fine with the reasons to reschedule the date and would be concerned for the health of your child, they would be disappointed but would understand perfectly the need to rearrange and would then look forward to that date instead. However, I believe that a number of non-parents would consider it an inconvenience and would mark a mental note against it to consider when deciding whether to invest their time in a relationship in the future.

It’s a harsh outcome, but it is their right, whether it’s considerate or not.

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